Ford Fiesta ECOnetic

10 May, 2012 7:00pm Luke Madden

New Fiesta ECOnetic is the most efficient Ford ever built. But is it worth the premium?


The Fiesta ECOnetic has always been one of our favourite green superminis as it’s great fun to drive, looks good and feels upmarket. The latest tweaks make it cleaner than ever, but it’s still trumped by the cheaper and cleaner Hyundai i20 Blue. The Fiesta is an excellent choice, but you need to decide whether you’re looking for the best to drive or the best value.
Ford has updated its ultra-efficient Fiesta ECOnetic, bringing CO2 emissions down to 87g/km and pushing fuel economy up to an incredible 85.6mpg in the process.

Those figures leave the old ECOnetic looking way off the pace with its 95g/km and 78.5mpg, but still fall short of the cleanest combustion-engined car on sale – the 84g/km Hyundai i20 Blue.

The improved eco performance is mainly due to the introduction of a stop-start system, although longer gear ratios also play their part, as does Ford’s focus on ensuring the components, like the cooling fan, sap less energy.

From behind the wheel, you won’t notice these tweaks at all. The 1.6-litre TDCi diesel engine takes the ECOnetic from 0-62mph in 12.9 seconds – in real world driving, there aren’t too many situations where you need to travel much faster than this.

It’s still not the last word in refinement, though, and the whole car tends to rattle when accelerating hard. But drive normally – as we did on our 100-mile test route of A-roads, motorways and city streets – and it will return just over 60mpg, so you can put up with these flaws. Plus, the stop-start system cuts in seamlessly, so you won’t be immediately reaching for the button on the dash to turn it off.
As we now expect from the Fiesta, the handling is pin-sharp, with the ECOnetic feeling agile even on its standard low-rolling-resistance tyres. The steering is well weighted and responsive, and more engaging than in the Fiesta’s supermini rivals.

The green Ford rides 10mm lower than the standard at the front and 8mm lower at the rear. This should hamper ride quality, but it feels incredibly supple. The standard fit 14-inch alloys have generous side walls that ensure rough roads don’t send large vibrations through the interior.

Inside, the ECOnetic feels as solidly built and well equipped as any other Fiesta. The dashboard is finished in a pleasing soft-touch plastic and our Zetec model had electric windows, a Quickclear windscreen and air-conditioning. Titanium versions of the ECOnetic are also offered, and come with DAB radio, tinted glass and automatic air-con.

But the Fiesta is already an expensive choice and if you start adding optional extras, a Titanium ECOnetic can cost over £18,000 – way too much for a car this size. Our model starts at a much more reasonable £15,595, but even this looks pricey when you consider that the Hyundai i20 Blue costs from £11,795 – and it’s almost as capable.

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How can it get four stars when it's that expensive?

Because the Insignia got three stars because it was that expensive - doesn't make sense, does it?


The Fiesta only gets anywhere near that figure if you add every option available to the top of the range model and even then only if you pay full up list price, which nobody in the entire world is ever going to do!

If you pay the list price for a Ford your a mug! A quick search on line and you easily save aroud 20% on this car, you could probably walk into a Ford dealer and get a decent discount also. So it's not really going to be that expensive.

If I were to buy one though I'd wait for the 1.0L 3 pot due when the Fiesta is facelifted.

100km and 2.7 L only usage is a superious number.

And what fuel does it use in the real world??
Autoexpress - you should at least have a run around at the speed limits on a tank of fuel and see what you can get.
If Ford claim 85.6, then no better than 65mpg overall.

For most owners, the smaller petrols make more sense by far., both as a day to day ownership experience and in total ownership costs. How many high mileage drivers choose Fiestas?

Can't wait till the 1.0 Ecoboost comes to this car, that'll be the one to have.

Who would choose this car over the Hyundai i20 Blue which comes with the peace of mind of a 5 year warranty.

Once again AutoExpress testers only quote government fuel consumption figures instead of giving us an on-test consumption. Why doesn't AutoExpress see if 85 mpg is really possible? The real average for this car will be around 55 mpg. You will never achieve 85 mpg, so why even mention it?

Econetic is a fantastic car, with fantastic MPG. But come on Ford £15,995 compared to the Fiesta Studio £8,995 in the Ford advert to the right>>>.

Come on Ford stop ripping folk off, who is taking who for a mug the some of all the parts in the diesel don't add up to another £7,000 for a diesel econetic.

I hate it when people complain that the official mpg figures are so inaccurate! My last 3 cars have all bettered their official mpg figures ranging from a v6 diesel Audi to a 1.4 citroen. What's wrong with people? It's not like I'm even driving particularly carefully, sure I'm anticipating the road ahead to drive more smoothly, but I'm going at normal road speeds.

I'm looking forward to getting 85 mpg when the new fiesta arrives. And oh yeh, its not just about price, less pollution is also a concern of people too these days. And that's worth the extra : )

Yes official MPG figures are rubbish but it's all we have - at least its a "relative figure", you can tell the i20 Blue is a bit better than the Fiesta Eco, even if the actual numbers don't stack up.

I agree with Toniqr if people actually thought about how they drive they might get a lot closer to the actual numbers.

my Fabia VRS did 60 mpg easily when driving sensibly

so what is this rip off all about ...the whole eco bandwagon
is one big con....the prices are hiked up when you get less performance what a joke

A 5 grand premium for that thing, that's a hell of a lot of miles at 85mpg but it's only going to do 60 at best, it will fall to bits before you get your money back. Pointless.

This car does seem to be rather expensive. Only a 5 speed 'box & 3 years warranty. And it's a Ford! There are lots of very nice new cars for that kind of money. One would need to be doing a high mileage to make it worth all that extra.

Luke Madden says that Ford have reduced emissions and pushed up economy as though the latter was a result of the former. If you improve economy, you automatically reduce CO2 emissions.

Toniqr may be disappointed. Cars with stop start always give optimistic official figures because of the cold start in Urban test and the 32% of the time that engine idling is specified. Unless you spend this amount of time idling, you should reduce your expectations by 5 to 10 mpg compared to the official figure.

You can buy yourself a nice assembled British Astra a lot cheaper than this move up a class, to a car thats wider inside with more headroom, legroom front and back with a much bigger boot in a British made Astra move up a class.

Can't understand why anybody would want to travel cattle class in an expensive overpriced German made cramped up Fiesta, it's a blatant rip-off by Ford who treat its customers like a total mugs to be mugged.

My Fiesta took me from Gillingham, Kent to Lewdown in Decon and back, achieving 82 mpg.

Gillingham to Heathrow and back at 72 mpg.

My Fiesta took me from Gillingham, Kent to Lewdown in Devon and back, achieving 82 mpg.

Gillingham to Heathrow and back at 72 mpg.

Key specs

* Ford Fiesta Zetec ECOnetic
* Price: £15,595
* Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 94bhp
* Transmission: Five-speed manual, front wheel drive
* 0-60mph: 12.9 seconds
* Top speed: 111mph
* Economy/CO2: 85.6mpg/87g/km
* Equipment: Electric windows, air-con, 14-inch alloys, automatic lights, Quickclear windscreen
* On sale: Now